As usually happens these days, the Netherlands broke another record today with the warmest 21 February ever (article from omroepwest.nl in Dutch). The previous record was 14.8C (59F), although temperatures are expected to rise to 16-17C (60-62F) today.
I took a walk this morning around the city centre, stopping to take a photo of the Plein and the statue of Willem van Oranje:
There were plenty of places to soak in some sun today. You can check out the boulevard webcam at scheveningenlive.nl. Fairly busy, both in terms of pedestrians and traffic.
Quick update on where we stand with the curfew: it is still in place until a new court session this Friday. In the meantime the government is also working on an emergency law (done the proper way this time) which they hope to have passed on Friday. That way even if they lose the court case, which said the original curfew law was not legal, the curfew itself is still active. It was a crazy day yesterday, that’s for sure!
In happier news: I have a few remaining pictures from last week of a snowy Lange Voorhout. Taken by Marco, of course. He braves the snow and ice better than I do!
The Lange Voorhout is an L-shaped path in the city centre (article from denhaag.com in English).
Beautiful, isn’t it?
And a photo of the Escher museum, with snow. Of course, by now all the snow and ice has melted away. If you’re lucky you might find a pile here or there. But I am not complaining – I had my fun last Sunday (blog post). I am looking forward to the Spring-like temperatures this weekend as well. It should be nice!
Marco took some photos of the last few skaters on the Hofvijver this morning.
There weren’t that many skaters because the city had put up fencing around the entrance to the water:
The fun didn’t last long, however. More skaters found themselves in problems this morning and afternoon. After the fire department got everyone back to dry ground they started breaking up the ice along the walls to make it impossible to get back on. See also this article from district8.nl in Dutch: Politie haalt grote groep schaatsers van ijs Hofvijver Den Haag.
Marco took some photos yesterday of the Hofvijver (the pond outside the Dutch parliament) beginning to freeze over.
Cool photo, huh?
Here is a look at the Hofvijver from the side of parliament:
Technically you’re allowed to ice skate on the Hofvijver (and a lot of people do), but it does raise some security concerns.
To prevent people from getting too close to the parliament, the part of ice next to the buildings is always deliberately broken.
Of course, a lot of people went through the ice yesterday. Check out this article in Dutch from regio15.nl (including photos and a video): Meerdere mensen door ijs gezakt Den Haag. In the afternoon, someone went through the ice and was rescued. Shortly thereafter a few more people went through the ice, so the rest of the skaters were told to wait on the island in the middle. Eventually they were led away by the firemen, mostly using ladders. Today The Hague has put fencing around the Hofvijver to prevent people from ice skating, but that really hasn’t stopped most people.
Man fined after breaking ice on Amsterdam canal. Don’t mess with the ice in canals when Dutchies are hoping to get some ice skating in. Officially he was fined for violating the sailing ban, not breaking the ice. (I read on NOS.nl that he was fined for sailing in the wrong direction.)
Here are a few more pictures that Marco and I took yesterday during our walk outside. I fear that everything is probably ice by now, since the Netherlands isn’t known for cleaning up well after snow storms. It is sort of logical, since we don’t get that much snow these days.
Above is a statue of Louis Couperus (English Wikipedia), a Dutch novelist and poet.
It wouldn’t be a proper Dutch blog post without some pictures of bikes.
One slightly evil looking snowman. We saw this one near the “Constitution Sofa”, which is the slightly weird translation I found on thehague.com. I’d probably translate it as “Constitution bench” instead.
And finally, a picture of the New Church. Marco and I haven’t been inside its gates in ages. But with the falling snow it was particularly pretty this time.
Marco and I went for a walk around lunchtime today to take a few pictures of the snow that fell. It was fairly cold, but that was mostly restricted to my fingertips.
First a picture of a very cold Hofvijfer. There were actually about 10-15 birds in this part of the water, although it is pretty difficult to see.
I didn’t even see the bird flying above when I was taking the picture. My only thought was of my freezing hands and wondering how fast I could take the picture and put my gloves back on.
Lange Voorhout. Off in the distance (and almost impossible to see) is the Escher museum (official website in English). Did you know it is possible to take a virtual tour of the museum? I found it pretty interesting, even if I felt like I had to move the mouse in the “wrong” direction to move around. Note: I’m not sure if they will keep the virtual tour up after the museum opens its doors again, so don’t wait too long.
Look at the snow on this car on the Lange Voorhout – you can see how hard the wind was blowing.
Handhaving grijpt in vanwege drukte tijdens sneeuwpret from regio15.nl in Dutch. In English: Security intervenes due to overcrowding during “snow fun”. The University of Delft’s library is built into a hillside, which means their roof is basically a grassy hill. They said it was okay to snow down the hill (provided no one uses sharp objects which might damage the roof underneath), but of course that meant massive crowds arrived by the afternoon. It is a very cool library design; I’ve been inside once.
Opps. Tram 16 derailed earlier this morning. Admittedly HTM (The Hague’s bus and tram provider) is still trying to ride most of their routes, with an adjusted schedule. NS, the national train service, said no trains would run today. Amsterdam’s buses and trams were running this morning but have since stopped. Amsterdam’s metro held out a bit longer, until earlier this evening, before that was stopped as well.
I noticed a “We miss you” sign at Hema (English Wikipedia) recently and decided to snap a quick picture:
Non-essential stores are still closed in the Netherlands, although click-and-collect options will be available from 10 February (see my previous blog post).
In other news, for those of us in The Hague: the yearly sculpture event will be returning to the Lange Voorhout this summer! (Official link from pulchri.nl in Dutch). The exhibition will run from 21 May to 14 September and will feature sculptures from 20 artists. The event is free and open to the public at any point of the day (provided there isn’t an evening curfew… ugh).
In 2018 (blog post) and 2019 the event was sand sculptures. Unfortunately the 2020 event was cancelled due to the corona crisis, so it is nice to see it return this year.
Stroopwafels being the Dutch delicacy of two thin wafels with caramel syrup in the middle (English Wikipedia). They were originally made in Gouda in the 19th century. In my opinion, the best way to eat them is from a street vendor while they are still warm. There is a local company by the name of Van Schaik (official website) which makes them. Usually they have a street stand but recently they also opened a store in the same area on Venstraat.
Marco and I took a walk on Sunday and spotted a few cute heart-shaped stroopwafels in their shop window:
You can also get them in the tourist tins (which sell really well, I’m sure).
The sugar waffles above are what caught Marco’s eye in the first place.
But the coolest thing was definitely this bucket of stroopwafel pieces. Holy moly! That is a LOT of stroopwafel. My only fear with bringing that home is that I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them…